The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “community

Keeping a Community’s Soul Intact

Posted on March 18, 2016

FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, LIBRARIES WERE LIKE CASTLES of private knowledge. Even then they contained thoughts and ideas that could be dangerous, forming part of the justification for invading armies to ransack and burn them to the ground. The reasoning was simple: destroy a culture’s collected memory and you can wipe out the culture itself. Except it didn’t work that way. Memories and acquired wisdom are dynamic things that, when called upon, still empower a citizenry even when their books are taken away. And almost immediately they begin building places of knowledge again. For that very reason libraries have to be permeable, fluid things. Civilizations ebb and flow, and as long as enlightenment and knowledge are essential to progress libraries will be found at the…

The Shelter of Each Other

Posted on March 3, 2016

THIS CONUNDRUM OF HOMELESSNESS IN CANADA has become an exquisitely painful exercise. Over a number of decades we watched from a distance as it first emerged in our larger cities, then became something of an embarrassment to civic, provincial, and federal leaders. It is a part of the Canadian landscape that we understand doesn’t match our worldwide appeal or our domestic ideals. At crucial moments during that journey (an excruciating trek for those who are actually homeless) the subtle compromise was reached that it was a problem that needed to be managed as opposed to solved – a subtle admission that the distance between our compassionate ideals and our desire for an affluent life was unbridgeable. For those living without a secure place for…

Setting Folks a-Twitter

Posted on February 10, 2016

TWITTER IS FEELING THE PAIN, and it’s not a conclusion based on mere conjecture. Three years ago everyone seemed to be migrating in its direction – the BIG THING. For a time it was the creative public space that its founders designed it to be and people found a voice for their opinions and ideas. Yesterday we learned that the company has fallen from a worth of $40 billion (US) to $10 billion (US), in just three years. Twitter wasn’t just a good platform for communicating; it attracted investors, too. But that’s changing, as both money and opinions seem to be moving off in other directions. In dedicated fashion Twitter is trying to reverse the slide, with its main response being shifting tweets from…

Election 2015 and the One-Percent

Posted on October 8, 2015

IT WAS ONLY A WEEK AGO THAT PUNDITS were arguing if “change” was really a factor in the campaign. Things weren’t shaking up much and parties appeared to be in a kind of holding pattern. Not anymore. Movement is showing up in the polling numbers and a sense of new life is emerging in this long campaign season. Voter sentiment is getting aroused and now media coverage is talking about change in its stories. Will it be enough to set us in a new direction as a country? If you asked someone like American activist Ralph Nader you might be encouraged by his answer. Honoured by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th Century, Nader thinks that citizens really…

Election 2015: Politicians Should Understand Precarious Work

Posted on October 1, 2015

IT’S A TOPIC THAT SEEMS to be all around us. Economists, social activists, researchers, corporate execs, educators, media commentators, labour researchers – all of these have spent the last few years focusing on “precarious work” as an omnipresent reality in each of our communities. That’s also true for my own city, London. Tomorrow morning, at King’s University College, there is a conference on this very issue featuring two noted Canadian economists. You can find out more about it here. The more people attending events such as these, the quicker we’ll start asking ourselves if temporary or precarious work is the kind of future we want in Canada. The future of work itself is increasingly occupying Canadian conversations, but not in the political realm, even…

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